Diversity Co-Chair Shani Fleming has devoted her career to promoting social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion within the healthcare community. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore Graduate School. She is an executive team member of the Physician Assistant Leadership and Learning Academy and UMB Graduate School Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer. She has significant clinical, academic, and leadership experience as a Physician Assistant (PA), practicing primarily in underserved communities and advocating for and coordinating curricula addressing social determinants of health, LGBTQ+ care, and cultural humility within PA education programs. She is a proud HBCU graduate, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and completed her PA studies, MPH, and MSHS from George Washington University. She is a diversity and inclusion leader within National and State organizations, reaching thousands of underrepresented racial and ethnic high school and college students advocating for inclusion, diversity, and equity in health professional education.

Diversity Co-Chair Juan C. Zelaya has been practicing as a PA-C for the past 28 years. Originally from Tegucigalpa Honduras, he has been living   in the state of Maryland for the past 44 years. Juan graduated from the George Washington University Physician Assistant     Program in 1993. Prior to this, he earned a B.S. degree from the University of Maryland at Baltimore in Medical Technology   studies.

Juan has extensive experience practicing in outpatient adult medicine at Chesapeake Health Care, an FQHC on the Lower   Eastern Shore of Maryland. Juan has developed a passion for educating future PA professionals, and has been precepting students from The GWU and The UMES PA programs for the past 12 years

Juan is certified by NCCPA and has active memberships in AAPA and MdAPA.

Since graduating from GWU, he has resided in Salisbury, Maryland. Juan lives with his wife and is a proud father of 3 college graduates. When he is not at the clinic, he can be found on the golf course enjoying his other passion.     g.

The Diversity committee supports the Maryland Academy of Physician Assistants Mission “To promote and support the Physician Assistant profession in Maryland through communication, education and legislative efforts” through the following efforts:

  • Recruitment of Minorities into the Physician Assistant Profession – Diversity within a profession promotes excellence.  The committee will continue to partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Diversity Representatives on College Campuses and high schools to provide resources and support for students interested in pursuing a Physician Assistant career.
  • Project Access – Reaching out to high schools and colleges through Project Access, we are planting a seed that will inspire many minority students to pursue a career in medicine and give them hope that anything and everything is possible.  We have several high school and college partners in which members will provide an interactive, fun, and informative presentation surrounding the physician assistant career, educational process, and funding opportunities.
  • Retention of a diverse pool of students within Physician Assistant programs – The committee will work on creating a mentorship program with current MdAPA members that may be utilized by students.  We will also work on scholarship and financial resources for students.
  • Resources for Maryland Physician Assistants – The committee will provide ongoing CME, reports, webcasts, events related to health disparities, diversity in the workplace, and social determinants of health.

Juan and Shani can be reached at [email protected].

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Millersville, MD 21108
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